FP1: Stroll heads Piastri in sole practice session for Chinese Grand Prix

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F1 Grand Prix, GP China, Shanghai International Ciruitcn

Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll set the benchmark with a time of 1m36.302s in the sole practice session at the Chinese Grand Prix to head McLaren racer Oscar Piastri and championship runaway leader Max Verstappen.

Despite having only a single practice session, there were a few differences in the way teams approached the one-hour outing ahead of qualifying. Ferrari were the last team to hit the track after spending the opening ten minutes of the session in the garages. It became later apparent that the delay was indicated by the Scuderia's decision of only using a single set of tyres with both drivers. It meant that Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz completed the entire one-hour practice with a single set of soft compound which is the C4 this weekend.

There was a brief red-flag period in the session due to a small fire in the grass.

It was Lance Stroll in the end to set the benchmark time of the session with a 1m36.302s. By contrast, his team-mate Fernando Alonso finished down in P19, having elected to save tyres for the rest of the weekend.

McLaren appeared to have encouraging speed with Oscar Piastri taking second, three tenths of a second off Stroll's benchmark. His team-mate Lando Norris was on course to top the timesheets, but he decided to abort his lap which could have seen him four tenths of a second ahead of his team-mate.

Having led the early part of the session, reigning champion Max Verstappen ended up third fastest with his team-mate Sergio Perez following suit. The Red Bull pair followed a conventional run plan, having used a set of mediums for a initial stint before committing themselves to a race simulation on high fuel on the same set. The final part of the session saw them head back out on to the Shanghai International Circuit on a fresh set of softs.

After the ten-minute delay, Ferrari drivers spent the entire session of the same set of soft compound. Although Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were atop the leaderboard at one point of the session, they dropped down the order to P13 and P14 respectively when his rivals elected to complete a qualifying simulation on fresh softs.

Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton found themselves down in P17 and P18 respectively, but the W15 looked strong and well-balanced. With both drivers having only used a single set of hard compound, there is more to come from the Mercedes pair.

With Mercedes and Ferrari having elected to restict their running to a single set of tyres, there were plenty of surprises in the top ten. Having brough several upgrades for the Chinese Grand Prix, Haas racer Nico Hulkenberg finished P5 ahead of his team-mate Kevin Magnussen.

Having struggled for pace all through the season, Esteban Ocon ended P7 with Alpine, followed by the trio of Alexander Albon, Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas. Home hero Zhou Guanyu ended the session P11.


118Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:36.30221
281Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:36.629+0.327s24
31Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:36.660+0.358s25
411Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:36.690+0.388s24
527Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:37.101+0.799s23
620Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:37.118+0.816s23
731Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:37.213+0.911s23
823Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:37.229+0.927s19
93Daniel RicciardoRb Honda Rbpt1:37.238+0.936s25
1077Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari1:37.530+1.228s24
1124Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber Ferrari1:37.626+1.324s24
1222Yuki TsunodaRb Honda Rbpt1:38.006+1.704s27
1316Charles LeclercFerrari1:38.090+1.788s20
1455Carlos SainzFerrari1:38.284+1.982s19
152Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:38.286+1.984s23
164Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:38.630+2.328s21
1763George RussellMercedes1:38.806+2.504s21
1844Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:38.839+2.537s24
1914Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:38.936+2.634s22
2010Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:39.276+2.974s21